Why was Jesus baptized? Why was Jesus' baptism important?

Question: "Why was Jesus baptized? Why was Jesus' baptism important?"

When Jesus came to John to be baptized, John asked the same question. Why should he, a sinful man, baptize the Messiah? He tried to prevent Jesus from being baptized saying “I need to be baptized by You and You are coming to me?” (Matthew 3:14). The baptisms that John performed symbolized repentance, and he saw this as inappropriate for the One he knew to be the spotless Lamb of God. Jesus replied that it should be done because “it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Christ was here identifying Himself with sinners. He will ultimately bear their sins; His perfect righteousness will be imputed to them (2 Corinthians 5:21). Therefore, this act of baptism was a necessary part of the righteousness He secured for sinners. His was a perfect righteousness in that He fulfilled all the requirements of the Law which we, for whose sin He would exchange His righteousness, are not capable of fulfilling. He is our perfect substitute.

This baptism was a very public one and was recorded for all generations to know about and understand, and it is important for several reasons. First, it pictures His death and resurrection. Second, it symbolizes the believer’s identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Third, it marks His first public identification with those whose sins He would bear. Fourth, the event was a public affirmation of His Messiahship by the testimony that came directly from heaven (Matthew 3:17).

Water baptism is used as a way to identify. In Jesus’ day, when a Gentile would convert to Judaism, he would have to be publicly baptized to identify him as a convert. Obviously, Jesus was not converting to anything. Jesus’ baptism was an identification of Jesus with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus was baptized to publicly announce Himself as God’s Son, and to pronounce the beginning of His ministry with the Holy Spirit’s power. Jesus did not “need” the Holy Spirit. However, to set an example for us, Jesus emptied Himself (Philippians 2:7) and relied upon the Holy Spirit’s power. Jesus' baptism and reliance upon the Holy Spirit is an example that we are to follow in our own lives.

Recommended Resource: Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper.

Related Topics:

Who is Jesus Christ?

Why is the Virgin Birth so important?

What is the importance of Christian baptism?

When did Jesus know that He was God?

How is Jesus Christ unique?

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Why was Jesus baptized? Why was Jesus' baptism important?